Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- This portable key punch for preparing punched cards was manufactured by the Massachusetts firm of Wright Line. Punched cards were central to large-scale data processing in the United States from the introduction of the Hollerith tabulating machine in the 1890s through the 1970s. Tabulating machine manufacturers such as IBM and Remington Rand (later Sperry Univac) rented card punches. Wright Line, founded in 1934, was one of relatively few independent data processing accessory manufacturers. It made and sold a large variety of files, magnetic tapes, card punches, and related machines.
- The device is designed for 80-column punch cards such as those made for IBM computers. It has a metal base painted black with 12 number keys and an "S" key. These keys, with their white key tops, are attached to a moveable carriage. A single punch card fits in the carriage. A mark on the top reads: Wright (/) PUNCH (/) MODEL 2600.
- This punch came to the Smithsonian from the United States Naval Observatory, a longtime user of tabulating equipment for scientific purposes.
- Accession file.
- "E. Stanley Wright, Manufacturer, 66," New York Times, September 8, 1959, p. 35.
- Wright Line, Data Processing Accessories Catalog ’69, p. 38.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1970
- Wright Line
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History